Craig Whitlock, “Drone strikes killing more civilians than U.S. admits, human rights groups say,” The Washington Post, 22 October 2013
Two influential human rights groups say they have freshly documented dozens of civilian deaths in U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, contradicting assertions by the Obama administration that such casualties are rare.
Ben Quinn, “MoD study sets out how to sell wars to the public,” The Guardian, 26 September 2013
The armed forces should seek to make British involvement in future wars more palatable to the public by reducing the public profile of repatriation ceremonies for casualties, according to a Ministry of Defence unit that formulates strategy.
Other suggestions made by the MoD thinktank in a discussion paper examining how to assuage “casualty averse” public opinion include the greater use of mercenaries and unmanned vehicles, as well as the SAS and other special forces, because it says losses sustained by the elite soldiers do not have the same impact on the public and press.
Tara McKelvey, “How Buck McKeon created a global drone enterprise,” BBC News Magazine, 2 August 2013
Many countries, including China and Israel, make drones. Yet the US is the world’s leader in creating technology for drones and in promoting their use – for both military and civilian purposes. The interest in drones in the US crosses political lines, with both Democrats and Republicans investing in the aircraft. …
Less well known, however, is the fact that drones are used in the civilian airspace over the US, UK and Europe.
It is a growing, if under-reported, trend. Many of the drones used in Pakistan, along with those sent to Afghanistan, now have a permanent home in the US. These drones are turned over to civilians who work for the federal Customs and Border Protection agency, police departments, and other government offices.
The story of how drones became a robust niche in domestic law enforcement – and part of the commercial world as well – is rooted in Washington DC. Indeed, the rise of the drone can be traced in part to one man, Howard “Buck” McKeon.
Cora Currier, “Who Are We at War With? That’s Classified,” ProPublica, July 26 2013
In a major national security speech this spring, President Obama said again and again that the U.S. is at war with “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.”
So who exactly are those associated forces? It’s a secret.
The director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s national security project talks about why the Obama administration’s drone assassinations are not just illegal in many cases, but are becoming increasingly risky for the US itself.
Watch the short interview here.
Spencer Ackerman, “US drone strikes more deadly to Afghan civilians than manned aircraft“, The Guardian, 2 July 2013
A study conducted by a US military adviser has found that drone strikes in Afghanistan during a year of the protracted conflict caused 10 times more civilian casualties than strikes by manned fighter aircraft.